How To Bypass ISP Blocking and Heavy Internet Censorship in Norway

Norway has a population of about 5.3 million people. With its citizens earning an average salary of $3500 per month,  it is one of the wealthiest countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). It is therefore not surprising that more than 90% of its citizens have access to the internet

Norway is usually the benchmark for countries where citizens have unrestricted freedom. However, in recent times, the Norwegian government has moved from encouraging online freedom to blocking access to some internet domains. This article focuses on internet censorship in Norway and how to bypass restrictions resulting from it.

Internet Censorship in Norway

Norway portrays itself as a country that respects the people’s choices, as long as whatever action they take is within the constitution’s boundaries. Recently, it has come under some criticism for directing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to restrict access to certain websites. This move by the Norwegian government goes against its image as a government that encourages a free society. 

In comparison with countries with heavy or moderate internet censorship, Norwegian residents usually enjoy the freedom to access online sites and services with little or no restrictions. ISPs only impose a voluntary CSAADF (Child Sexual Abuse Anti Distribution Filter) on their networks. This is to discourage the propagation of child pornography and the likes. Any attempt by residents to access such sites will see them read a warning message instead.

Beyond the CSAADF, ISPs, with the backing of the government, are imposing restrictions on other sites. The Norwegian government has valid reasons to implement some of these restrictions. For example, ISPs restricting access to gambling sites with no authority or license to operate under Norway’s jurisdiction is laudable. However, there have been cases where the government has gone beyond the scope of its original intentions. ISPs are casting a wider net because of the ambiguity of the directives of the Norwegian government. 

Streaming and torrenting sites are among those hit with DNS-level restrictions. Sites like PirateBay, Movie4k, Viooz, DreamfilmHD, Primewire, and Extratorrent are no longer accessible in Norway. Online freedom advocates in Norway worry about the increasing scope of restrictions. They believe if the government keeps increasing censorship, the freedom of Norwegian residents is at risk. 

Why Is Internet Censored in Norway?

While some of these restrictions have reasonable and justifiable reasons, others result from pressure on the government by certain groups. For example, in 2016, the Christian People’s Party urged the government to censor all forms of pornography. While the government did not succumb to the pressure from this group, other groups have succeeded in making the government implement restrictions. 

The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is one group that pressures the Norwegian government to restrict access to sites that encourage piracy. Some torrenting and streaming sites meet that description and are on the blacklist of ISPs in Norway. Associations representing the film and recording industry are also vocal supporters of the government blocking these sites. 

How To Bypass ISP Blocking and Heavy Internet Censorship in Norway

Bypassing these restrictions requires the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is usually the safest way to access platforms restricted by ISPs without compromising your identity. It will create a secure pathway between your device and its servers, masking your IP address in the process. This prevents any attempt by ISPs to have control over sites you can or cannot access. 

Asides from dealing with censorship issues, VPNs are one of the most secure ways to surf the internet. Several security features prevent malicious entities from stealing your data. So how do you use a VPN? Here is the step-by-step process of using a VPN to access a site like Pirate Bay, for example.

  1. Select a VPN and purchase a subscription package. 
  2. Install the application on one or all of your devices depending on your subscription package
  3. Log in and choose a server outside Norway.
  4. Access any site you couldn’t access before due to the restrictions. 

This process is usually straightforward and doesn’t take time. The only phase you might have some difficulty is selecting a VPN service to use. Several VPN service providers claim to be the best, but that is not always the case. There are a number of them that have proven to be reliable and trustworthy.

They include but are not limited to the following:

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN devices

Features

  • Number of servers: More than 3,000
  • Speeds: Unlimited
  • Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
  • Maximum devices supported: 5
  • 24 live chat: Yes
  • 30 day money back guarantee: Yes

Pros/Cons

  • Fastest VPN out there
  • Strict no logs policy
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Few discounts
Visit ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is home to a collection of over 3000 servers spread across 94 countries. This means you have the option to choose any server among 93 countries outside Norway. You will also have no problems with speed as ExpressVPN has a track record for being one of the fastest VPN services. Accessing torrent sites will be no problem, as its servers support P2P file-sharing.

Its headquarters is in the British Virgin Islands, far away from the Norwegian government’s influence and the 9/14 Eyes Alliance. What does this mean? The 14 Eyes Alliance is an international intelligence-sharing agreement between 14 countries, including Norway. A VPN under the jurisdiction of any of those countries can be at the risk of laws that require it to store users’ data or share information with the government.

A No-Log policy combined with other security and privacy features like  RAM-only servers, military-grade encryption, secure VPN protocols, leak protection, perfect forward secrecy, and Tor over VPN ensure ExpressVPN adequately protects you.

In most cases, you don’t have to worry if ExpressVPN supports your device as it supports several mainstream devices and platforms. You can subscribe for a year, six months, or monthly. Its monthly plan costs $12.95, while the yearly one costs $8.32 per month. Subscribing to any plan gives you access to a 30-day refund policy, five simultaneous VPN connections, and 24/7 support.

  • Pros: Fastest VPN out there; Strict no logs policy; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $6.67

NordVPN

NordVPN devices

Features

  • Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: 6
  • Dedicated IP-addresses? Yes
  • Servers: 5342 in 58 countries

Pros/Cons

  • Lots of pricing options
  • Netflix support kept up to date
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Slow app
Try NordVPN

NordVPN’s presence in 59 countries is not far off from ExpressVPN’s 94. It has more than 5000 servers to cater to its users’ needs, assuring them of a smooth experience. The number of servers also contributes to its reliability and lightning-fast speed. If you’re not looking to connect to a specific country, its Quick Connect feature allows you to access the fastest server available.

With its support for torrent clients, accessing sites like Pirate Bay should not be a problem. NordVPN runs from Panama, keeping your connection data safe from the Norwegian government. Its No-Log Policy ensures it stores only the necessary data required to keep your account running. Also, its bitcoin payment option takes away the risk of your exposing your billing address.

NordVPN prides itself on being very secure. It includes features such as a warrant canary, obfuscated servers, 256-bit encryption, split tunneling, Double VPN, and Tor over VPN. Its security structure includes protocols like IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, and a WireGuard implementation: NordLynx.

User-friendly custom applications on every major device ensure compatibility is not an issue. Its budget-friendly subscription plans make it a more attractive option. You pay $3.71 per month for a 2-year commitment, $4.92 per month for a yearly one, and $11.95 for its monthly plan. NordVPN gives you a refund if you cancel your subscription within 30 days of payment, and you can have up to six parallel connections.

  • Pros: Lots of pricing options; Netflix support kept up to date; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $3.71

Surfshark

Surfshark devices

Features

  • Free trial? Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: unlimited
  • Ad blocking? Yes
  • Servers: 1000+ in 61 countries

Pros/Cons

  • No footprints
  • Allows torrenting
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Not the fastest
Try Surfshark

Surfshark covers slightly more countries than NordVPN. It has over 3000 servers present in 65 countries. Relatively a newbie compared to ExpressVPN and NordVPN, it is reliable and budget-friendly. With Surfshark, access to streaming and torrent sites comes at a low price. It is fast enough for you to stream without lags and in high quality.

Like ExpressVPN, it is under the jurisdiction of the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands. It also operates with RAM-only servers; its servers wipe data every time there is a system restart. You can trust Surfshark to stand by its No-Log Policy.

Security-wise, it features an adblocker, HackLock, Double VPN, Tor over VPN, DNS/IPv6/WebRTC leak prevention, and the industry-standard AES-256 encryption. Depending on which you prefer, you can select any of OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, IKEv2/IPSec, and WireGuard as your VPN protocol.

Surfshark’s software application has broad compatibility. Two of its three subscription plans are economy-friendly and cost significantly less than most VPN service providers. It will cost you $2.49 per month for its 24-month plan and $6.49 per month for its 6-month one. One of its most attractive features is that there is no limit to the number of parallel connections you can have.

While ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark provide remarkable service, there are other notable VPN service providers like ProtonVPN, HideMyAss, Private Internet Access, and IPVanish.

  • Pros: No footprints; Allows torrenting; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: €2.49

Conclusion

Norway has come a long way in building a reputation as a country that does not interfere in the online activities of its citizens as long as they are not breaking the law. Thus, it is appalling that the Norwegian government is making some effort to put a dent in that reputation. Fortunately for residents, VPNs provide a safe way to bypass whatever restrictions ISPs have put in place.